How the Seychelles Islands came to have its name

Nii Ntreh Jul 11, 2020 at 03:00pm

July 11, 2020 at 03:00 pm | Culture, History

Nii Ntreh

Nii Ntreh | Associate Editor

July 11, 2020 at 03:00 pm | Culture, History

The Seychelles islands is a popular destination for holidaymakers because of the islands' beaches. Photo Credit: News.Mongabay.com

Located northeast of the unique Africa addendum that is Madagascar, Seychelles is an archipelagic nation with over 160 islands, according to the country’s constitution.

Historians agree that for much of recorded history, the islands were inhabited although it was sighted by Portuguese historian Thomé Lopes in 1503. But it is possible that Arabic and Austronesian seafarers settled temporarily on some Seychellois islands around the time or earlier than Lopes recorded his sighting.

The Austronesian are a unit of peoples who share linguistic commonalities. They are scattered on islands from the South China Sea to Madagascar in the Indian Ocean.

A huge constituent of Seychelles’ 100,000 or fewer people are of Austronesian heritage. But among the people, there is also a very palpable connection to France due to 18th-century maneuvers by then King of France.

Realizing that the Seychelles were, in their perspective, no man’s lands, the French began to take control from the 1750s. A French captain, Nicolas Morphey, laid claim to the islands in 1756 with the blessing of King Louis XV.

As was the tradition, the Seychelles islands were named in honor of someone of privilege, in this case, Louis XV’s finance minister, Jean Moreau de Séchelles. And until 1794, the islands remained under the control of the French.

When other European nations rose up in arms against the French in what is called War of First of Coalition, the British took the fight to some of France’s international territories, including Seychelles. France surrendered in First Coalition and as punishment, had to forfeit such territories as Mauritius ad Seychelles.

France’s acquiescence to the forfeitures was ratified by the 1814 Treaty of Paris. Britain then ran Mauritius and Seychelles as one colony until 1903.

In 1976, Seychelles was granted independence by the British. The country has since leveraged its geography to become one of the favorite destinations for holidaymakers across the world.

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